Why Shane MacGowan’s ‘Fairytale of New York’ could still not make Christmas No1

Why Shane MacGowan’s ‘Fairytale of New York’ could still not make Christmas No1

Fans of The Pogues had hoped Shane MacGowan’s festive hit “Fairytale of New York” will become a No.1 in time for Christmas, following the musician’s death on 30 November.

However, the UK’s midweek top 100 songs show that Wham’s “Last Christmas” is already taking the lead as No1 and could hold the top spot until the end of the month.

The Pogues’s ”Fairytale of New York” currently stands at number three in the charts, one place behind Mariah Carey’s hit “All I Want for Christmas Is You”. The Pogue’s Chrismas classic was originally released in 1987, but it has never reached the top spot in the UK charts.

It peaked at No2 and was soon beaten for the Christmas number one spot in the year of its release by the Pet Shop Boys’ “Always On My Mind”.

Fairytale of New York  was originally released in 1987 (Alamy)
Fairytale of New York was originally released in 1987 (Alamy)

Since the death of much-loved Irish singer-songwriter Shane MacGowan, “Fairytale of New York”, which features Kirsty MacColl, has surged up the charts – rising 15 places since last week to claim the third spot.

Hopeful fans of The Pogues have been eager for the song to finally reach No1.

Writing on X, one user said: “If ‘Fairytale of New York’ by The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl isn’t the #1 song on the charts at Christmastime, we’ve wasted an opportunity.”

“Guessing Fairytale of New York will get to the top of the charts. RIP Shane MacGowan. Gone too young but a life well lived,” another added.

Another fan added it would be an appropriate way to honour the late musician if the single finally hit number one, adding: “Another musical legend gone. A fitting tribute would be A Fairytale of New York making Christmas No1 in the charts.”

“Battle for Christmas charts is ON! Fairytale of New York soars,” a fourth commented.

MacGowan’s death shook the music industry and his fans. Thousands of mourners including Irish leaders and the country’s biggest celebrities have gathered to pay their respects to MacGowan on Friday (8 December), at the town of Nenagh, where a public mass will be held on Friday at 3.30pm ahead of a private cremation.

MacGowan will always be remembered as an icon (PA)
MacGowan will always be remembered as an icon (PA)

Victoria Mary Clarke, MacGowan’s widow said the cause of death was pneumonia.

Speaking about MacGowan’s funeral and finally laying him to rest Clarke said: “Shane hated funerals and he refused to go to them with a few rare exceptions. So it’s incredible to think that so many people want to come to his and that so many beautiful people are pouring their hearts and souls into making it magnificent and magical and memorable for him and for us who are left behind.”

MacGowan will forever be remembered as a “lyrical genius” as family, friends and fans paid homage to the incredible life he had.

Singer Billy Bragg hailed the Irish star as “one of the greatest songwriters of my generation”. He added: “The Pogues reinvigorated folk music in the early 80s and his songs put the focus onto lyric writing, opening doors for the likes of myself and others.”

The Charlatans’s Tim Burgess praised the Irish singer-songwriter as a “lyrical genius” and an “inspiration” to many up-and-coming artists.

“I followed The Pogues to far-flung places, met Shane a few times and watched some of the most exhilarating shows I’ve ever witnessed,” he added.

The winner of 2023’s Official Christmas No1 will be announced Friday 22 December live on BBC Radio 1’s The Official Chart with the full Official Christmas Singles and Albums Chart Top 100 published on OfficialCharts.com.